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Only 4% of Poles, Slovaks and Czechs Protected by a CO Detector- Honeywell Survey

For many, a smoke alarm is an essential – if not required -- part of household safety. The danger posed by fire in the home is well publicised and most people take the threat seriously. So imagine the risk posed by something equally deadly but that, unlike fire, is invisible, has no smell and makes no sound.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas cannot be detected by human senses yet can be lethal after prolonged exposure. The highly toxic gas is produced when an organic fuel, such as wood, coal, oil or natural gas, does not properly combust. Badly installed and poorly maintained domestic appliances are a common cause of CO leaks in the home, particularly during the winter when heating appliances are used the most.

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Yet despite its dangers a new survey by Honeywell has shown that, among residents in three countries across Central and Eastern Europe, the dangers of CO are still poorly understood. We quizzed more than more than 3,000 residents living in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and found that while a vast majority of people used at least one appliance powered by an organic fuel source at home, such as a boiler or wood burner, very few understood the potential of their systems to leak CO and the risk to human health posed by the gas.

While 74% of respondents in the Czech Republic and 83% in Slovakia said they had at least one organic fuel-burning appliance in the home, only 3% and 1% respectively had invested in a CO detector, while in Poland 28% incorrectly stated that they don’t need a CO detector as they already have a smoke alarm even though these devices are not capable of detecting the gas. Worryingly, an average of 39% of respondents living in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland fail to conduct regular maintenance of their organic fuel-powered appliances, while an average of almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said they took no steps at all that would help prevent CO leaks from occurring.

“Our surveys show people are underestimating the risk of CO leakage in their homes,” said Wojciech Krajewski, regional sales leader for Honeywell Environmental and Energy Solutions-Eastern Europe. “Regular maintenance of fuel-burning household appliances -- along with proper installation and ventilation, timely repair work and safe operation of these systems -- is critical to reducing the risk of CO poisoning. Because the level of gas in the air typically builds over a considerable time period, it is also important that homeowners select a high quality CO detector that is certified to industry standards, in addition to a smoke alarm, in order to maximize their safety indoors.”

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Despite the risks, only an average of 4% of residents across the three countries said they were using a CO detector to protect their household. While steps such as regular cleaning and maintenance of appliances and ensuring adequate ventilation in the home help reduce the risk of a leak, the only way to detect the presence of CO is with a dedicated CO detector. Consequently Honeywell has teamed up with emergency responders and leading public figures in each of the countries to help promote the danger of CO and provide people with advice on how to stay safe during the heating season.

CO detectors work by constantly monitor air quality, alerting the user to the presence of CO long before it reaches harmful levels. Honeywell is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of EN50291-certified CO detectors. This industry-recognized certification ensures high quality performance over the system’s design life. CO detectors are inexpensive, quick-to-install and easy-to-use, making them an effective way for anyone to significantly reduce the threat of CO poisoning in their home. To learn more about the dangers of CO and get details of Honeywell’s range of certified CO detectors click here.

Chris Martin
Europe, Middle East & Africa
+44 779 400 7289  - Mobile